Health

Seal those teeth from cavities

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, September 24, 2017



BRUSHING and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it's not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of your teeth — especially those back teeth (molars) you use to chew.

Molars are rough, uneven and a favourite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.

Still, there's another safety net to help keep those teeth clean. It's called a sealant, and it is a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. It is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.

How do sealants work?

Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone's mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities.

After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth — just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.

Who can get sealants?

Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age six, and second molars break through around age 12.

Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Ask your dentist if sealants are a good option for you and your family.

How are sealants applied?

It's a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant.

After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at Shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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